Interlingua English Dictionary revised by Stan Mulaik

28 December 2015


This directory contains the Interlingua-English dictionary published by Alexander Gode in 1951, with changes made in 2015 by Stanley A. Mulaik, based on ideas he had long before that. The document starts with an introduction, in which Mr. Mulaik explains his changes. It is followed by the dictionary itself with the changes in it.

I originally received the document in Rich Text Format. Because that makes it rather large (over 6 megabytes) I decided to publish it in Microsoft’s docx format. That involves Zip compression and so makes the file much smaller, a little over 700 kilobytes. I also thought of using the odt format (Open Document), but because docx is even smaller, opens faster in Word, and Open Office (I use 4.1.1) and Libre Office (4.4) can also open and save documents in that storage format, I preferred that.

Before publishing I did some editing. I changed nothing substantial to the content, which is still entirely Mr. Mulaik’s. As before, my publishing does not imply endorsement, but I do think the documents are historically important and should be available for people to read, if they wish.

Preparing for comparison

The changes I did make are largely of a technical nature: it involved formatting (paragraph indents and vertical paragraph spacing) and the placement of spaces and hard returns. The latter I did mostly so I could create a text document containing just the dictionary, without the introduction, in such a format so it could be mechanically compared to the original Interlingua-English dictionary.

That latter I also edited and slightly corrected to prepare for the comparison. Because that version does not contain the equal signs after the lemmas, which are in the revised IED, I removed them from it – and also changed the strings ‘(= ’ to just ‘(’ – saving the result as a work file.

Although Interlingua and English essentially only require plain ASCII (7 bits), dictionaries do contain some accented letters. In the text files I put online here, these are encoded in ISO-8859-1, also known as Latin-1 or ANSI, or what in practice often works out exactly the same: Microsoft’s code page CP1252. (Note 22 February: meanwhile converted to UTF-8, like almost all of this site.)

The result of the comparison between the original IED and Mr Mulaik’s revised version, made using Unix tool diff -wB, is here. It contains 2764 lines, indicating about 830 changes.

Less is clearer

One of the revisions proposed by Stanley Mulaik is that -isar should become -izar and -isation be turned into -ization. There are many words that are affected by this.

To make the other changes more clearly visible (of course many are also mentioned in Mr. Mulaik’s introduction to the document), I created versions of the text files to be compared (original, revision) in which all the letters z have been changed to s. Of course this may produce incorrect and unintended spellings, but the advantage is that diff no longer finds isa=>iza changes, making the other differences more conspicuous.

The resulting file is much smaller, 626 lines showing some 178 differences.